1. Bitcoin Bubble vs. Blockchain (aka Internet 3.0)
No matter how interested you are in software technologies, you probably have heard about Bitcoin and how much money some people have made who bought coins early. This headline of an article in the New York Times sums it up perfectly: “Everyone Is Getting Hilariously Rich and You’re Not”. Focussing on Bitcoin as a currency misses the point of what the underlying technology (aka Blockchain) is all about and that has a lot to do with the history of the Internet. A very short summary:
Internet 1.0 was based on open protocols: HTTP, POP, SMTP, TCP/IP- things we still use everyday when opening websites or sending email. The cool thing about this: Everyone can use them free of charge. They are just there and don’t belong to any company.
Internet 2.0 changed this: The internet became centralized with companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon. This was possible because many important areas were not planned for in Internet 1.0. In the case of Facebook: Social identity. Due to network effects, Facebook now owns the data that defines social identity for 2 billion people and one person (Mark Zuckerberg) has the majority of voting power over that data. The result is that these platforms (with best intentions) have a lot of power over all of us and society in general while earning money by selling ads. This changes your beliefs and thoughts.
based on Blockchain technology makes it possible to decentralize the web and break up these existing power structures. How? Instead of saving data in a centralized database (like on Facebook’s servers), data is spread out over many different computers. Instead of a single authority governing that database, the network of computers verifies transactions with mathematical calculations and every player receives a reward for their service (in form of cryptocurrency itself like Bitcoin). Therefore you often hear the term ‘trustless’ transactions because you don’t have to trust a third party to work in your interest and protect 'your’ data. Bitcoin is the first major application and there are thousands of projects in the making at the moment. The promise is that we will all own our data again and will be able to fix how large parts of the Internet work at the moment. This is a very good article if you want to read further and get a better overview: Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble.
2. Philosophize This!
This is an awesome philosophy podcast. If you’re a beginner and want to get an overview: Listen to it starting with the first episode.
Have a good weekend,